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Bluefield State College at The Erma Byrd Higher Education Center Partners with Cell Phones for Soldiers to Provide Troops with Free Calls Home

  • Created
    Tuesday, May 13 2014
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103

(Beckley)—Bluefield State College at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center in Beaver, WV and the nonprofit Cell Phones For Soldiers Inc. are asking area residents to help troops call home by donating gently-used cellular phones. Although the military landscape is ever changing, as many as 200,000 troops are serving in the United States military overseas around the world. By donating to Cell Phones for Soldiers, local residents can provide troops with that precious connection to loved ones back home.

Beginning May 19, residents can donate their phones at a collection box placed in the atrium near the Information Desk at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center

"Assisting our deployed servicemen and women with the costs associated in making phone calls home is an ideal way to recognize the sacrifices of our country's service members, veterans and their families, and highlights the essential role that a simple phone call home plays in promoting their health and wellness." Observed Billy Stone, BSC Admissions Counselor/Erma Byrd Higher Education Center.

Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded in 2004 by teenagers Robbie and Brittany Bergquist at the ages of 12 and 13. The charity has since provided more than 204 million minutes of free talk time to servicemen and women stationed around the world through its calling card program, Minutes That Matter. Funds raised from the recycling of cellular phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. On average, Cell Phones for Soldiers distributes 7,500 calling cards each week to bases around the world, care package programs, deployment ceremonies and VA hospitals.

"Each year we have been humbled by the amount of people and organizations like Bluefield State College at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center that take the initiative to support our troops," said co-founder Brittany Bergquist. "The communication gap between those serving and their families is a crucial need that Cell Phones for Soldiers is committed to addressing for years to come."

Donated phones are sent to Mindful eCycling for recycling. For every donated phone valued at $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops.

Approximately half of the phones Mindful eCycling processes are reconditioned and reused. Phones and components that cannot be refurbished are dismantled and responsibly recycled to reclaim materials, including:

  • Gold, silver and platinum from circuit boards
  • Copper wiring from phone chargers
  • Nickel, iron, cadmium and lead from battery packs
  • Plastic from phone cases and accessories

For more information, please visit

Participation in the Cell Phones for Soldiers program is voluntary and upon donation, the Participant will waive any and all claims relating to the acceptance, distribution, and use of donated items by any third party. Please be certain to delete or erase any personal information contained in any cell phone donated that you do not wish to be discovered by any third party."

Cell Phones For Soldiers Inc. is a national nonprofit dedicated to serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than 204 million "Minutes That Matter" to deployed troops. Since 2012, "Helping Heroes Home" has provided emergency funds for more than 400 returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest pages.